Emmaus International

The Emmaus Cologne community has informed us that Stephan Drechsler, who they called "Father Emmaus", died on 1 May.

150812 Stephan Drecshler emmausStephan Drechsler first came into contact with Emmaus Brussels in 1956, during a speech by Abbé Pierre as part of "The Development of Europe", and then again the following year at the "Friendship Camp" for abandoned children organised by former French and Belgian resistance fighters, where he helped provide support for German children. In late 1957 he and some friends participated in the big Emmaus collection in Verviers, Belgium. After this they organised their first collection in Cologne and in 1959 they created a rag-picking community with students and young workers. Stephan was the founder of Emmaus in both Cologne and Germany.

Through these long years he has contributed to the building of the Emmaus International movement. 150812 Stephan Drechsler emmaus

He represented Emmaus Cologne at our first General Assembly in May 1969 in Bern, Switzerland (see photo), and in July 2015 we published his testimony about this event in Tam-Tam n° 63, which was dedicated to World Assemblies. He later attended many subsequent World Assemblies and participated in the organisation of the 1992 World Assembly in his town, Cologne. 

In November 1989 he helped the administrative committee in his role as "regional representative" (today we call this role "Emmaus International Board Member"), for the former Central-Southern Europe region. At the subsequent meeting, in April 1991, he was elected vice-Chair of Emmaus International and his mandate ran until the World Assembly of September 1996.

Despite his advanced years and his health issues Stephan always kept in touch with the Cologne community. We share in the sadness felt by the community and his wife Maria. Thank you, Stephan, for a life of commitment to the poorest and the pursuit of justice as a part of Emmaus International.

May he rest in peace.

Patrick Atohoun
Chair of Emmaus International